When Ocean Grove’s Sam McIntosh became quadriplegic at 17, he was completely unaware of the world of para-sport. Now, Sam has represented Australia as a Paralympic wheelchair sprinter in multiple international events including 3 Para Athletic World Championships (2011, 2015, 2017) and both the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. In 2016, Sam finished 4th in the 100m event and hopes to take out a medal in Tokyo 2020.
The stark contrast between his ignorance of para-sport twelve years ago, to now being among the world’s most elite athletes in para-sport, has inspired Sam to educate and celebrate para sport in his home community of Geelong.
While training for his first Paralympic Games in 2012, Sam cofounded Parallel Sports Inc., a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and engagement opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities, by helping them connect with community-based sports programs and initiatives. While Sam’s days are filled by his intense training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, he spend much of his spare time with the Parallel Sports program describing it as “a way of giving back to the community by sharing a love of sport the same way that I was exposed to it 12 years ago”.
Sam receives no funding support for travel, racing, and equipment costs and relies solely on local sponsorships and donations to help him continue toward his goal of Tokyo next year.
If you’d like to support Sam, Geelong’s Piano Bar is holding a fundraiser for him this Saturday May 4th 1-5pm www.eventbrite.com.au or check out his website at www.sammcintosh.com It was a pleasure catching up with this inspirational, dedicated local.
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: David Fromholtz @davidfromi on Instagram